Being an indie author is more than simply writing books, you’ll also have to learn how to market a book. You’ll have to master the art of bookselling and distribution, something traditionally published authors have a tiny leg up on because they’re backed by a book publisher whose entire business model is attaining book sales.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t master—or at least understand and effectively implement—a masterful book marketing plan.
To create a reliable source of income from your books month after month, you’ll have to create a sustainable and profitable book marketing plan, which may include things like paid advertising, targeted marketing, book collaborations or interviews. But one of the best things about being a self-published author is that you can do anything and everything within your realm of understanding to get your book in the reader’s hands.
Why do you need to learn how to market a book?
After spending years writing, editing and designing your story, you want to give your book baby the best chance at survival, and effective book marketing is the best way to do that. To reap the fruit of your blood, sweat, and tears, you’ll want to learn how to market a book that sells.
When can I start to market a book?
Long story short, the best time to start marketing your book is now. Whatever phase of the writing process you’re in, start your book marketing. It takes steps to build a platform on which you can sell your books.
There are free ways to market yourself to start, which include social media, where you take 15 minutes a day to post a writing and word count update, and email marketing, where you can send a monthly or quarterly blast updating people about your progress.
Other, more time-consuming efforts include starting a blog or YouTube channel, but the moral of the story is that wherever you feel most comfortable is where you need to focus your marketing efforts.
What is unmarketing? Unmarketing is about taking the sales out of marketing. While the goal remains the same—to sell your book or product—you’re doing so much through community and engagement that it almost doesn’t feel like marketing. It’s about taking everything you think you know about marketing and turning it on its head.
When it comes to marketing, the best advice is to create a community of engaged followers, where you’re connected a few times per week.
The “Market a Book” Mindset
But before we get into the easy 7-step process that will help you optimize and sell your books, let’s talk about book marketing mindset.
Don’t obsess. Just do.
When some people think about the “marketing mindset” they think everything has to be perfect. But the reality is that you need to start to succeed. People who never start—and in this case, that means people who never start marketing their books—never succeed. Don’t get caught up with the tiniest details that most people obsess over and most consumers don’t even notice.
Little tweaks can go a long way.
Another misconception about marketing is that it’s a one-and-done sort of deal, and that fallacy couldn’t be further from the truth. Algorithms and popular tastes are constantly changing, which means you must be constantly changing and evolving and tweaking your marketing efforts to stay top of mind. And that’s really all marketing is—staying top of mind.
When it comes to marketing a book, realize it’s a bit touch-and-go. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll waste a little bit of money until you figure out what sticks. But if you persevere, you’ll learn from every misstep. You’ll learn from your failures and you’ll rise up stronger than ever.
Book Marketing Basics
Writing a captivating and compelling book description is imperative to selling your book. This quick book blurb can shift a person from browser to buyer and help you make a sale—and also a lifelong connection with that reader.
A good book description will hook readers from the first few words and give them a sneak peek into what’s in store for them, without giving too much away and revealing the entire plot. You should balance your words and descriptions to paint a clear picture and use emotive, powerful language that leaves the reader craving more.
Your book description is the basics of your book marketing strategy. You can send all the people to your book you want, but without a compelling book description, how will they know if your book aligns with their unique tastes?
Categories are another critical component and directly contribute to how people find your book. Using correct and accurate keywords will help drive traffic to your book sales page and increase your chances of completing a sale and finding new readers, but categories are necessary to narrow down your target audience and help readers find you.
Most online retailers allow two categories, but many offer expanded category options by contacting them or purchasing more categories.
Keywords are important no matter where you are in your marketing. Finding new readers and relevant keywords will help you show up in people’s feed, book searches, and suggestions. Amazon allows you to add seven keywords, but you can increase keyword power by adding additional keywords into your book description and title.
But that doesn’t mean you should overload keywords where they (1) don’t belong or (2) where they don’t feel natural. Remember that it’s real people reading those descriptions. Overpacking them with keywords is not the way to go about getting someone to buy your book.
The most important thing about learning how to market a book is to answer why. There are so many books out there in the wild, that sifting through it all can be difficult and tiring. But answering people’s why will help them decide whether or not to buy your book.